The landscape used to look very different in America. Prior to WWI, most citizens were farmers, working and eating from the land. Farm-to-table wasn’t a hipster movement but an actual way of life.
When I was little, I was only allowed to eat real food for the first few years, albeit a slice of birthday cake here and there. As I got older, fast food became more ubiquitous because of convenience and the fact that it tasted good, so everyone in the family would eat it.
As a result of the Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, pizza, and Chinese food, I got lazy. I barely knew how to cook when I left college, and when I moved to CA I was mostly surviving on frozen food from Trader Joe’s. Thankfully, then-boyfriend-now-husband taught me the basics of cooking, and after a few months we were regularly making dinner together.
I’ve never felt better than when I make dinner every night: fresh veggies, something with healthy fat and protein, green salad, and complex carbs. A serving of each seems to be in perfect balance with whatever my body needs. When I get away from that, my energy and well-being suffer.
Food is truly natural, un-processed, and has few ingredients. Non-food is processed, probably comes in a bag or box, and may have six ingredients or sixty. Just because something is edible doesn’t make it food. Just because you grew up eating something, doesn’t make it food. Just because it tastes good, doesn’t make it food. Check your habits at the door and question everything you think you know about food and eating. When you open your thought process, rather than chasing the latest “diet”, you’ll be able to make the choices that are best for your health and your well-being: true soul food.
I like the 80/20 guide: eighty percent of the time, eat fresh things (food) that originally came from the ground, not a factory. The other twenty percent of the time, enjoy stuff you like that’s fast, processed (non-food) and/or not the healthiest choice. Not 80 percent salad, though. Change it up regularly so you and your taste buds don’t get bored. (Plus 20 percent for whatever your cupcake equivalent is!)
Pro tip # 2: add three fresh vegetables (two green) and two fresh fruits to your daily eating. Have fun with it by looking up healthy, delicious recipes that use in-season, thus more affordable veggies. Simply planning more and adding produce will have you well on your way to higher-nutrient eating and more energy to live life and meet your goals.
[Photo: Santa Teresa State Park, San Jose, CA]